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Boat horse maintenance (15¢/mo) expensive compared to normal horse (0.1-0.4¢/mo)

Started by freddyhayward, June 14, 2021, 01:04:35 AM

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Matthew

The pak balancing spreadsheet explains this. The boat horses also carry the cost of a single unskilled worker, who is supervising the horse:



The canal barges don't carry any crew cost. By contrast, the horses for road use are controlled by the driver on the coach/cart (who can control a variable number of horses) and the crew costs are born by that part of the convoy.
(Signature being tested) If you enjoy playing Simutrans, then you might also enjoy watching Japan Railway Journal
Available in English and simplified Chinese
如果您喜欢玩Simutrans的话,那么说不定就想看《日本铁路之旅》(英语也有简体中文字幕)。

freddyhayward

Quote from: Matthew on June 14, 2021, 04:13:51 AM
The pak balancing spreadsheet explains this. The boat horses also carry the cost of a single unskilled worker, who is supervising the horse:



The canal barges don't carry any crew cost. By contrast, the horses for road use are controlled by the driver on the coach/cart (who can control a variable number of horses) and the crew costs are born by that part of the convoy.
In that case, goods carts don't have a crew cost either. Perhaps there should always be a leading horse or pair that bears the crew cost regardless of whether the driver physically sits there.

Matthew

Quote from: freddyhayward on June 14, 2021, 05:37:39 AM
In that case, goods carts don't have a crew cost either.

That change was introduced by this commit by James, which changed a large number of values for road carts and wagons. I can't find any explanation of this change on the forum and the changes don't reconcile with the pakset balancing spreadsheet. The most relevant thread I could find from that period is this one about railway horses. James says there that he fixed the discrepancy between railway and road horse costs that you reported, but the Git commit history shows that either he never made any changes to horses or they have subsequently been reverted. James, perhaps you tried to fix the discrepancy indirectly by changing cart/wagon costs? If so, it was based on a misunderstanding of the pakset balancing principles, as Elemental noted in that thread.

If my guess is right (it happens very occasionally  :D ), that commit was based on a misunderstanding. One option would be to revert it and return to balanced and principled costs across the pakset. Unfortunately, this will make the vast majority of road freight unprofitable throughout the horse-drawn era, as was the case early last year, which will mean gameplay will diverge from historical outcomes. The other option would be to retain the current values because they generate approximately the right economic incentives for players and update the pakset balance spreadsheet with the (apparently arbitary) numbers.

QuotePerhaps there should always be a leading horse or pair that bears the crew cost regardless of whether the driver physically sits there.

If you want to rework convoy composition (not something I am advocating), then the best solution would to change the way we model convoys, from "a group of vehicle and hold objects" (where horses and post boys are counted as vehicles) to "a group of vehicle, hold and crew objects", with crew objects displayed in the depot etc. but not on the map. "Horse(s) must be followed by a cart/coach/wagon/barge" would then become "horses must be followed by a driver who must be followed by a cart/coach/wagon/barge". Players would be able to see clearly in the depot window what objects they needed and the reasons for costs would be displayed transparently, instead of requiring cross-reference to a spreadsheet outside the game.
(Signature being tested) If you enjoy playing Simutrans, then you might also enjoy watching Japan Railway Journal
Available in English and simplified Chinese
如果您喜欢玩Simutrans的话,那么说不定就想看《日本铁路之旅》(英语也有简体中文字幕)。

freddyhayward

Quote from: Matthew on June 14, 2021, 11:39:14 AMIf you want to rework convoy composition (not something I am advocating), then the best solution would to change the way we model convoys, from "a group of vehicle and hold objects" (where horses and post boys are counted as vehicles) to "a group of vehicle, hold and crew objects", with crew objects displayed in the depot etc. but not on the map. "Horse(s) must be followed by a cart/coach/wagon/barge" would then become "horses must be followed by a driver who must be followed by a cart/coach/wagon/barge". Players would be able to see clearly in the depot window what objects they needed and the reasons for costs would be displayed transparently, instead of requiring cross-reference to a spreadsheet outside the game.
I'm not advocating reworking convoy composition - this would simply be a pakset change introducing leading horses which would be identical to existing ones with "(front)" appended to their names similar to multiple-unit trains. Front horses will must be the start of the convoy, middle horses must follow front or middle horses, and coaches and carts must follow front or middle horses.

Matthew

Quote from: freddyhayward on June 14, 2021, 11:52:36 AM
I'm not advocating reworking convoy composition - this would simply be a pakset change introducing leading horses which would be identical to existing ones with "(front)" appended to their names similar to multiple-unit trains. Front horses will must be the start of the convoy, middle horses must follow front or middle horses, and coaches and carts must follow front or middle horses.

This change would definitely be a gain in one respect: it would make the behaviour of horse-drawn vehicles by road, track, and water consistent with one another and with the behaviour of the motorized road and water vehicles (which attribute essential crew costs to the leading vehicle IIRC). That is an easy principle to understand and incorporate into the documentation.

However, the existing system appears to work on the basis that crew costs are incurred where the crew member typically sits or stands. That's also an easy principle to understand and document. So I'm not sure why the change would be an improvement. Isn't it six of one and half a dozen of the other?

I also wonder whether differentiating the proposed new horse objects with only "(front)" appended to their names would be a missed opportunity, because it hides from the player the economic reasons for this setup. Perhaps it would be more in line with the first high level design goal to have a label such as "(driver in front)"? Then players know why the costs are higher for these particular horses: it's not because horses at the front eat more hay or something, it's because it's the (hacky  :P ) way that we allocate crew costs.
(Signature being tested) If you enjoy playing Simutrans, then you might also enjoy watching Japan Railway Journal
Available in English and simplified Chinese
如果您喜欢玩Simutrans的话,那么说不定就想看《日本铁路之旅》(英语也有简体中文字幕)。

wlindley

"Horse and driver" might be a good title for the leading unit, with just "Horse" following.

Also, is it prototypical that a boat horse always only operated as a single horse, and that fly-boat horses always operated exactly as a pair?  

jamespetts

It is planned, with the vehicle maintenance features, to allow staff cost to be only in the first or last vehicle of a convoy (for, e.g., engine drivers of locomotives with multiple working capability, or brake carriages in trains with automatic brakes). This feature should work for horses, too.

The maintenance features (together with the schedule features) is an extremely large feature-set that will need some quite intensive work, so it may be a while before we can get to that, although a start had been made on it in early 2018 and there was some work a few months ago to try to bring the codebase up to date.
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